My .emacs file includes a line I presumably added ages ago

(require 'some-random-package)

I haven't actually been able to learn anything about the package.

My load-path is quite complicated (it takes up about a screenful) so a manual solution digging through the load path isn't ideal.

I'm aware emacs' rules for loading a package are to look through the directories in the load path for foo.elc and foo. How can I find where the package came from?


1 Answer 1


There are two built-in interactive functions to help a user track down a library that is within the load-path -- i.e., locate-library [to see the path] and find-library [to open the library in a buffer].

M-x locate-library

locate-library is an interactive compiled Lisp function in 'subr.el'.


Show the precise file name of Emacs library LIBRARY.
LIBRARY should be a relative file name of the library, a string.
It can omit the suffix (a.k.a. file-name extension) if NOSUFFIX is
nil (which is the default, see below).
This command searches the directories in 'load-path' like 'M-x load-library'
to find the file that 'M-x load-library RET LIBRARY RET' would load.
Optional second arg NOSUFFIX non-nil means don't add suffixes 'load-suffixes'
to the specified name LIBRARY.

If the optional third arg PATH is specified, that list of directories
is used instead of 'load-path'.

When called from a program, the file name is normally returned as a
string.  When run interactively, the argument INTERACTIVE-CALL is t,
and the file name is displayed in the echo area.

M-x find-library

find-library is an interactive autoloaded compiled Lisp function in

(find-library LIBRARY)

Find the Emacs Lisp source of LIBRARY.
LIBRARY should be a string (the name of the library).

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